The British Baking Show (aka The Great British Bake Off) is on constant rotation here at Horizon Guest House. In one of the TV show’s latest episodes the contestants were asked to bake rainbow-colored bagels for their technical challenge. This recipe is a little more work than the average bagel recipe but the vibrant results are well worth the effort. Have fun and celebrate all things Pride! (don’t worry, the food coloring doesn’t change the great bagel flavor!).
You will need five mixing bowls (one for each colored dough), two baking sheets (greased and lined with baking paper) and two proving bags.
Place flour in a mixing bowl, add the yeast to one side and the sugar and salt to the other.
Add three-quarters of the water and, using your fingers, mix together. Add the remaining water, bit by bit, until all the flour is incorporated. This should give you a rough dough.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5–10 minutes.
Once you have a soft, smooth dough, divide into 5 equal pieces.
Cover the pieces of dough with a damp tea towel. Working with one piece of dough at a time, turn each into a different colour.
Add 3 pea-sized drops of food coloring onto the dough, then fold up and over the colouring. Knead to an even colour. You may need to add more coloring to achieve the correct level of brightness. Add additional drops one at a time. Place the coloured dough into a greased bowl.
Repeat the process with the other four pieces of dough until you have five brightly coloured pieces of dough. Cover each bowl and leave to rise for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in size.
Turn out each piece of colored dough, one by one, onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out each piece to a 8″x 5″ rectangle. Set each piece aside.
Place the orange rectangle of dough neatly on top of the red. Add the yellow, green and blue rectangles, until you have a stack of five layers of dough – red at the bottom, then orange, yellow, green and blue.
Cut the stacked dough into six 8″ x 2″ wide slices, slicing down through the layers, so each strip has five layers of colour.
To shape the bagels, lay one of the stacked dough strips on your board and place the palm of your hands at either end.
At the same time, move your right hand forwards and your left hand backwards to twist the dough into a rope about 10 inches long. Pinch the ends together to form a circle and gently roll the join back and forth to seal. Repeat with all the pieces of dough.
Place the bagels on the lined baking sheets, then into the proving bags. Leave to prove for about 20 minutes, until risen and puffy.
While you wait, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) / 350°F (180°C) fan / Gas 6.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the baking soda (this will help give the bagels a shiny, chewy crust).
Plunge the bagels into the boiling water, 2 or 3 at a time depending on the size of your pan. Cook for 30 seconds on each side, until the bagels puff up and the shape sets. Allow the water to reach boiling point again between each batch of bagels you plunge.
Using a slotted spoon, remove each bagel from the water and place back on the baking sheet (note: if you like you can sprinkle cornmeal on the baking sheet to ensure the bagels don’t stick to the sheet).
Bake the bagels for 25–30 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.